Cultivating Development: Trends and Opportunities at the Intersection of Food and Real Estate

How can a focus on food within real estate projects translate into enhancements to health, environmental sustainability, and the bottom line? This Urban Land Institute (ULI) report explores the mutually beneficial relationship between food-based amenities—such as working farms, community gardens, food halls, restaurants, and grocery stores—and real estate. It highlights how the growing interest in and awareness of fresh, local food is spurring innovation in development projects. Read report... Read more

Housing in the Evolving American Suburb

(Source: ULI)
This report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) classifies and compares suburbs in the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States and assesses the key issues that will shape suburban residential demand and development in the years ahead. The report points out that healthy regions and fully functioning housing markets require a range of housing choices for households of different backgrounds, means, desires, and stages of life. Read report... Read more

Portland Mayor Has a ‘Hard Message’ for Cities Like Seattle

Above is a historic Portland home, and below is a typical McMansion from New York that photographer Anthony Easton notes is far beyond the height and width of neighboring homes. (Michel Pittman, Anthony Easton / Flickr)
Portland is tweaking its approach to land management, specifically when it comes to housing. Mayor Hales notes that about 1,000 people are moving to his city each month. And those numbers add up. Meanwhile, the younger Portland population is tripling up in houses with roommates. On top of that, developers have shown a preference for tearing down homes that are considered part of the characteristic fabric of historic Portland. Portland is considering a change to its zoning codes called the... Read more

Philadelphia Healthy Rowhouse Project

Rowhouses in Philadelphia (Source: The Philadelphia Citizen)
Philadelphia intends to launch Healthy Rowhouse, a home repair loan program, next summer, creating for the first time a renewable income source to help poor residents fix their houses. The loan program—up to $34,000, at low-interest—will be a radically new approach to affordable housing in the city, and one of only a few like it around the country. The goal is to preserve “naturally-occurring affordable housing”—that is, housing that is affordable without any government subsidy. Read more... Read more

Rebuild Healthy Homes: Guide to Post-disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy Home

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed this guidebook with the sole purpose of providing essential information to homeowners as well as volunteers and workers who restore homes damaged by disasters. Based on the principle link between health and housing, proper post-disaster restoration is particularly important for families who have already experienced a potentially traumatic event. Poorly restored homes, due to lack of knowledge or pressure for a speedy rebuild, can create health hazards, and even make... Read more

D.C. Mayor: City’s Taking Affordable Housing to “Next Level”

Tenants were forced to leave these homes, owned by the District of Columbia Housing Authority, in 2013, before the agency renovated them and sold them to wealthy buyers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
With nearly 14,000 affordable housing covenants set to expire by 2020, and 1,000 new residents moving to Washington, D.C., each month, the city’s “Housing Preservation Strike Force” released a set of recommendations for preserving the district’s existing affordable housing. The final report includes the ambitious goal of maintaining as affordable 100 percent of units currently receiving federal or city subsidy. Read more... Read more

There Are 5.6 Million Cheap Apartments in America. Not for Long.

Housing in New York City (Roberto Machado Noa / LightRocket)
There are 5.6 million inexpensive market-rate units in the U.S. And that’s about the number of units of publicly subsidized affordable housing, too. Activists and policymakers have invested time and money keeping subsidized units available at below-market rates while ‘naturally occurring’ affordable housing get much less attention. Yet there are fewer obstacles to developers seeking to take unsubsidized apartments upmarket—and out of reach for poor renters. Read more... Read more

Fighting NIMBY To Fill A Need

Pillsbury "A" Mill exterior, after renovation (Credit: Troy Thies)
As one might imagine, breathing new life into a 136-year-old manufacturing plant is a task fraught with problems. As Minneapolis’s A-Mill Artist Lofts, a finalist in the National Association of Home Builders’ Pillars of the Industry Award proves, when you add in affordable housing as the goal of the project, the complications mount, especially if that old factory is now in an upscale part of town. Read more... Read more

Pittsburgh Ready to Launch City’s First Community Land Trust

Home prices in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville, above, have tripled over the last 15 years (Source: Next City)
After decades of moribund stasis, Pittsburgh’s real estate market has roared back. A city task force estimated that Pittsburgh lacks more than 17,000 rental units for families earning half the median income for the area. There’s ample political will to create a housing trust fund (though uncertainty over how to fund it has delayed the project), and advocates have pushed for inclusionary zoning. None of this urgency could have been predicted even a decade ago. Read more... Read more
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